There are very few positives from the Boston Celtics’ demoralizing loss to the Washington Wizards on Sunday afternoon.
Kemba Walker, however, was a bright spot.
Walker had struggled to find his offensive consistency during the start of his season, but the Celtics point guard delivered one of his more impressive performances in a 104-91 defeat where there were not many to choose from.
Walker scored a season-high 25 points on 9-for-18 from the field while playing 29 minutes. Unlike 11 prior games, though, Walker actually looked like a multi-time All-Star. He created separation off the dribble and showed aggression while taking the ball to the rim. Walker connected on four of his seven 3-point attempts with seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
He wasn’t about silver linings, though.
“No. Not really. We lost,” Walker told reporters, per NBA writer Keith Smith. “It’s hard for me to take anything positive away for myself when we lose.”
It comes after head coach Brad Stevens recently expressed his confidence that Walker would break out of his slump. But now that it has happened, well, Stevens still doesn’t plan on putting much thought into it. He’s confident in Walker’s ability no matter what.
“I didn’t lose sleep over Kemba last week and I’m not going to lose any sleep over Kemba keeping that tonight,” Stevens said. “He’s a pro. He’s a winner. He’s tough. He cares. He’s all of what’s good. So, he played with some heart in a lot of situations tonight and was the loudest voice on the team all afternoon. So, I don’t worry about Kemba. I’ll let everybody else do that.”
Here are some other takeaways from Celtics-Wizards:
— Jayson Tatum had by far his worst performance of the season Sunday. The NBA All-Star was a horrid 3-for-14 from the floor, scoring just six points in 23 minutes.
Tatum contributed eight rebounds and four assists but showed a lack of effort at times, especially during one third-quarter defensive possession after missing a lay-up on the offensive end. However, that play was among the many effortless instances as Boston trailed by 24 points after seven third-quarter turnovers in the opening six minutes.
— Jaylen Brown joined Walker with a team-high 25 points. Also, like Walker, it didn’t exactly translate to much postgame excitement.
“I donât have too much to say other than we just wasnât very good today,” Brown told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston.
Brown added “no comment” when asked about the Celtics recording a season-low 14 assists on 32 made baskets.
— Stevens did take away one positive thing from Sunday’s loss.
It, rather surprisingly, had to do with the Celtics five-man lineup of Tacko Fall, Javonte Green, Tremont Waters, Aaron Nesmith and Carsen Edwards, who played the last 5:18 in the fourth quarter.
“I think if we take anything from this game we take the last five minutes and we clip up how that group that came in played together,” Stevens said, “and how we pressured the ball, how we were communicative — especially Tacko on the back line — how we shared it and even though we missed some shots, we got great looks.
“If our team can play more like that last five minutes then we’ll be as good as we can be. And if not, we’ll be average,” Stevens said.
The five-man group helped the C’s come back from what was a 25-point deficit with 5:18 remaining to lose by 13. Obviously, the game was well in-hand during the final minutes of regulation.
— The 13-13 Celtics are now .500 for the first time since early January. They have lost 10 of their last 15 games.
— Boston will return to the court Tuesday when they host the Denver Nuggets at TD Garden.